New St. Paul's Hospital gets official approval for site, business plan

But cost has risen to almost $2 billion and opening has been pushed back two years

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      The provincial government has given the official go-ahead to the new St. Paul's Hospital.

      B.C. premier John Horgan announced today (February 15) that the approval of the business plan for the to-be-relocated downtown Vancouver major health facility means that it "will serve more people and offer better access to the specialized care people need”.

      The cost for the complex on a 7.4-hectare False Creek Flats site located at 1002 Station Street was estimated to be $1.2 billion as late as 2018, with opening tentatively scheduled for 2024; the new cost announced this morning is $1.9 billion, with the doors opening in 2026. Construction is expected to begin sometime in 2020, with Phase 1 seeing construction of the core hospital and Phase 2 including a research and clinical-support centre.

      The new St. Paul's Hospital will be in the False Creek Flats, near Chinatown and SkyTrain’s Main Street-Science World Station.
      Providence Health care

      The current hospital site, located at 1081 Burrard Street, will be sold for development and the funds obtained will be applied to the new project, according to a February 15 news release from the St. Paul's Foundation.

      Construction costs are to be shared between Providence Health Care—a Catholic nonprofit health-care provider in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority—and the B.C. government. Local businessman Jimmy Pattison has already donated $75 million toward construction, and the release stated that the St. Paul's Foundation fundraising campaign is expected to be aiming for a target in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

      City of vancouver

      St. Paul's will remain a full-service acute-care hospital as well as a teaching facility—serving medical students from UBC and nursing students from BCIT—and it will incorporate research centres and specialized programs on the new campus, which will have a capacity for 548 beds, an increase of 115 net new beds, according to the foundation.

      Health Minister Adrian Dix stated in the release that it was "exciting" to finally get started on the construction phase of the new hospital, which was first proposed 15 years ago. "British Columbians have always expressed great confidence, and taken great comfort, in the care delivered by St. Paul’s. After more than a decade and a half of stalling, it is exciting to give the green light to a new, state-of-the-art St. Paul’s Hospital that will continue this legacy for many years to come.” 

      The foundation bulletin said that all services offered by Vancouver Coastal Health at the 125-year-old hospital's current West End location will remain after relocation, and general and specialized care will include: "HIV/AIDS, chronic disease management services, emergency and critical care, mental health and addictions beds and programs, ambulatory services and outpatient clinics, end-of-life care, Indigenous health, maternity, colorectal and gastrointestinal services, and community care and community outreach programs".

      Artist's rendering of future St. Paul's Hospital complex
      St. Paul's Foundation